I met Diane at a wedding back in 1998 when I escaped to the bar to avoid the nightmare that was the singles table. (Here’s 10 heartbreaking truths single people never talk about.). Diane, a beautiful glamazon with perfect eyebrows, had the same idea. After chatting with her for all of three minutes and getting on like a house on fire, we instantly we became friends.
Shortly afterwards Diane moved to London, where I lived, and we started hanging out on a regular basis. We both shared similar passions: great restaurants, dancing, ridiculous heels, fashion and heading to the movies on a rainy afternoon. She was bright, bubbly, witty and warm, with a great dry sense of humor. But there was one odd thing about her: she was incredibly insecure and if she felt someone had slighted her, she’d cut them out of her life instantly. So I occasionally worried about annoying her or saying the wrong thing. When she got engaged, I was thrilled when she asked me to be her bridesmaid.
When Diane’s wedding day came, I did her make-up and spent the day making sure she looked fabulous. She eventually moved away from London, but whenever her work brought her back to the city, she always made use of the spare room in my flat. When she was pregnant with her first child, I threw her a baby shower, even attempting to make scones for the first time in my life! A few years later she became pregnant again but tragically lost her baby during her second trimester. Naturally, she was devastated. In situations like that, it’s hard to find the right words and since she wasn’t accepting any phone calls or visitors, I tried to express my concern by sending her a card and text messages. But strangely, the more I tried to reach out to her, the further she seemed to pull away. I was at a loss for what to do. I even asked a mutual friend to re-read the unanswered emails I had sent to Diane to make sure I hadn’t been saying the wrong thing. The mutual friend told me not to worry and to just give her time and no doubt she’d be in touch. I took her advice and gave Diane some space.
Then, a mere month later, I became pregnant. I agonized over how to break the news to Diane. Somehow she put 2 and 2 together from various Facebook updates I had posted and worked it out for herself, texting me congratulations. Not knowing exactly how to reply, I simply said, “Thanks.” Part of me was hurt that she had been so cold and seemingly shut me out of her life.
Following that, she sent me an unsigned card when my daughter was born, but never attempted to see me again. We ran into each other at a mutual friend’s wedding, and I saw she was heavily pregnant. Summoning all the courage I could muster, I strode across the room and offered my congratulations. She looked me straight in the eye and then without replying, she turned her back on me, carrying on her conversation. I was devastated and wept on by husband’s shoulder the whole way home.
When I give someone my friendship, it’s for keeps. I’ve known most of my best friends since I was 11, some since I was 3! Having someone I valued and trusted simply toss me from their life without one word of explanation was gutting. When people cut you out of their lives, they give you no right to reply, no chance to make amends. It’s the ultimate f*ck you. It says: I don’t care enough about you to try and work through this.
So how did I get over it? Well, I’m not going to lie and say it happened overnight. It took me a considerable amount of time to let it go. Several things helped me:
- I realized that anyone who could ditch me so brutally simply doesn’t care enough about me in the first place, so why waste time worrying about them?
- I’m better without her. I no longer have to stress about upsetting her or walking on eggshells—hurrah!
- She never knew me in the first place. If she had, she would know that I would never ever hurt anyone deliberately, least of all a good friend. Clearly she had no sense of who I am.
- It was ALL about her and NOTHING about me. Diane had her own issues going on in her head. No matter what I did/didn’t do, it was never going to be enough.
- Looking around at all the other great friends I have, friends who would always have my back and give me the time of day, made me realize what a great life I had. Now, I don’t waste a second more of it worrying about my ex-buddy because she sure as heck isn’t worrying about me. She’ll have moved on to the next ‘friend’ and will be freezing them out in due time. Let her get on with it.
But what I learned most of all: Diane didn’t reject me. It might feel like rejection and hurt just as much as rejection, but it wasn’t the same. The reality is my relationship with Diane was unbalanced; she always took but never gave. Do I want someone like that in your life? Exactly.